Recap: Get Your Brand On

In case you missed it, I wanted to do a recap of the panel I hosted on Tuesday for Social Media Week, "Get Your Brand On". With the help of moderator Eric Schulze of Thirst DC (who did an incredible job) and my fellow panelists, we got a full house all riled up and nerdy about personal branding! Read on for the hilarious oath our moderator asked us all to take, some hot tweets, and of course, photos.

With nerdo-fab flair at the beginning of the evening, Eric asked everyone in attendance to raise their smart phone and repeat an oath of branding and boozy participation: 

"I do solemnly swear
To tweet with purpose,
Even if it means I must drink,
For Awesomeness and Social for All
So help my personal brand."

With that, we were off to the races and began a series of questions about how each of us panelists use social media to develop our brands. Within the first few minutes, audience members were energetically  lobbing questions verbally and through Twitter, which we fielded on the fly. It was a blast, and really interesting to see how more liberal organizations use social media similarly or differently from large institutions like the federal government. 

With questions ranging from how to measure and monetize social media development to what Twitter account we'd like to get our hands on to re-brand, the questions were varied and answers informative. Most interestingly, the audience shifted the focus from personal branding to branding in general - they didn't differentiate between personal and professional branding as distinctively as we thought they would. 

Here are some of my favorite Tweets and photos from the event: 

For the afterparty, DJ Jerome Baker III streamed his set live so anyone following the event on social media could get down too! The panelists mixed and mingled with attendees, cocktails in hand and branding still on the brain long into the night. 

It's the ultimate challenge to get dressed for something where you're going to be discussing personal branding and visual identity! No pressure! ;) I opted to strike a balance between business and art, as I often do - I paired a simple BCBG pencil skirt and stilettos with a Prabal Gurung for Target sheath (digitally printed since it's Social Media Week!) and chevron silk kimono. Simple, fresh hair and makeup with a little raspberry lip polished things off. 

The attendees were utterly engaged, intelligent, and charming - thanks so much to everyone who came!

Panelist Tre was striking in a vintage kelly green kimono style pantsuit. 

Since we were getting as nerdy as we were branding savvy and stylish, I'll leave you with some parting wisdom and takeaways from our charming moderator, Eric Schulze. Even the panel isn't exempt, so you can see where we did well, where we were surprised, and where we were stumped! ;) 

"The panel demonstrated a wide breadth of experience in personal branding, but one aspect became very clear: When we talk about being "social," the built in presumption is Twitter is the default social network. And that personal branding is infinitely more useful given the time needed to establish and maintain one. From scientists to fashionistas, personal branding is a useful way of amplifying your effect on the world.

Monetizing a personal brand is harder than one might realize, and that knowing your message defines your audience. This point split the panel and audience. Some felt defining your audience was staying true to yourself, while I countered with knowing your message is more powerful in defining a brand. 
The panel wasn't sure how to answer the question, "When do you know it's time to re-brand?" And the fact that the panel was stuck on this was fascinating. This may have been more of a consequence of the lack of a need for a re-brand by anyone on the panel. Every panelist was successful in their current incarnation, and that in itself shows the burgeoning nature of the personal branding scene in the District."

Thanks again to everyone who came, and hope to see you all at the Closing Party at Malmaison this evening - it's being co-hosted by my friends at No Kings Collective and I'm looking forward to stopped by!